Spray Painting Robots: How to Modernize your Painting Applications
Automating the spray painting process can be critical for running an efficient production operation. For manufacturers that understand the benefits of automation and are a good candidate for automating their painting process, the decision to automate holds great benefits for their business and productivity. This article will cover the basics of spray painting robots, help you determine when a spray painting robot might work for you, and understand how to automate your spray painting process.
An Introduction to Spray Painting Robots
Spray painting robots fit in the middle of the broader finishing process. Spray painting generally fits between fabrication and final assembly/packaging. There can be other steps and subprocesses before and after the actual spray painting process, such as:
- Part Preparation
- Part Presentation
- Paint Performance/Quality Testing
- Paint Curing
- Final Inspection
Sometimes, these processes might be included generally in the spray painting process. However, this article will focus only on the core painting process.
Spray painting robots follow programmed paths to apply paint to specific areas and parts. These instructions are programmed using software that usually comes with the robot. Modern software typically can template painting programs using CAD models of the part, saving a considerable amount of programming time.
These robots often work together with other machinery and equipment to operate efficiently. Various sensors and systems communicate, so the robot(s) know when the part is in position. This allows the robot to paint autonomously. Then, the robot can signal to the rest of the process when it is done with its task. A conveyor is usually responsible for moving parts in and out of a painting cell. However, some variations of this process can include manual loading and/or unloading.
Types of Robots Used for Spray Painting
Modern painting robots are almost ubiquitously six-axis robots. Most painted components have curved or otherwise complex geometries. This usually requires a six-axis variant to apply the paint evenly around the structure. This is due to their superior range of motion and dexterity. Both standard industrial and collaborative robots can be used for spray painting applications. Cobots tend to be a better fit for applications that require working within proximity to human technicians. Cobot applications are limited to smaller and slower applications due to their speed and force limitations. They also have the benefit of simple programming. This enables them to be rapidly redeployed in other tasks or quick process changes.
Industries Using Spray Painting Robots
Spray painting robots are common in several key industries. These industries commonly feature high-volume and repetitive painting applications. Industries for spray painting include:
When is a Spray Painting Robot Right for You?
Spray painting robots fit some specific needs of modern manufacturers. Understanding the benefits of automating this process and the needs they fulfill can help you determine if they’re a good fit for you.
You Have a High-Volume Painting Operation
Spray painting robots are best utilized in high-volume production processes. This allows them to make use of their speed advantage over manual painters. High-volume production operations are usually repetitive. This means there is a high amount and low variation of parts being produced. A low variation of parts puts a small burden on program development time. It also increases production efficiency by limiting part changeovers on the line.
You Require an Increase in Painting Consistency
Industrial robots are more consistent than manual operations. This is no different for spray painting applications. Robots aren’t likely to make mistakes and perform the same way on each part. As a result, automated painting lines produce more consistent and higher-quality parts. This leads to better production outcomes and reduced failures.
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You Need to Reduce Paint Waste
Automated solutions provide savings of up to 30% in paint used when compared to manual painting. This leads to significant cost savings over time in unwasted materials. Additionally, it can extend the life of spray guns and consumables such as filters.
How to Source an Automated Painting Solution
Assuming you’ve determined that your painting application could be a good candidate for automation, it’s important to understand the process of finding and buying an automation solution.
Determine Type of Painting Required
There are different methods of spray painting with different pros and cons. Optimal choices are depending on the material, environment, and type of paint. The scope of this article doesn’t cover the details of the different painting methods. However, some common techniques are listed below:
- Standard Atomizers
- High-Volume Low-Pressure (HVLP)
- Powder Application
You can order specific spray painting solutions with configurations depending on the spray painting method. It’s important to define the method required before you begin your search.
Define Mounting Conditions
It’s essential to determine how you want to mount your robot. Many painting robots can be mounted statically to the floor or a pedestal. However, larger applications might require robotic transfer units or other control units. Additional mounting options include vertical, carousel, and ceiling mounts. Most suppliers will be able to provide mounting options for your application.
Compare Solutions Before Buying
It can be difficult to decide on a solution if you’re unaware of what's available on the market.
HowToRobot.com makes it simple to receive and compare offers from robot suppliers, so you can find the best one. Our platform is the world's largest robot market covering 16,000+ suppliers - and we are confident that we can find the right match for you. Get in touch and let us know what you need. We will be in touch to get you custom offers, including price ranges.
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